I like to use the gradual release model for every single lesson. It keeps me on track and the kids like the structure.They are never confused about what to do. I find it makes my planning easier too! Here is a poster I made that reminds everyone of their role as we work through our problems. If I need to remind someone, I just point out which step we're on.
If you aren't using gradual release for instruction, I highly recommend that you try it at least a few times. I promise you'll love the results! It's the way I've always taught math but only discovered that it has a name last year.
So, besides doing math on the rug every day, I also do math centers while I meet with groups. Right now we are working on arrays and relating them to repeated addition and multiplication. As an opening activity, I gave each table group a large pile of colored counters and said we were going to have a race to see who could count them the fastest. There was only one rule: First they had to put the counters into equal groups. It was so much fun watching them race to count those counters! Not surprisingly, it was the table that made groups of 10 who won the race.
My centers for multiplication this week and last were super easy to plan thanks to my blogger friend Arisbeth Rossi. She runs Sailing Into Second (awesome blog, check it out!) and generously sent me her Multiplication and Division Unit to check out. It's packed full of useful stuff!!
Two of the activities we did most recently are the multiplication bubble map and an even/odd product sort...
I really love the bubble map because it gets the kids thinking about what they already know. It builds their confidence as you dive into multiplication. I had my students take their completed graphic organizers home to explain to their parents. If they brought it back signed, they got a little treat.
The even/odd product sort was a great way to revisit second grade skill while working on multiplication. My kids really needed a review and this fit the bill perfectly! Since we are just starting on multiplication, I had them work with partners to solve each problem and then sort them.
Another piece of Arisbeth's unit that I really like is the multiplication and division booklets. There's a nice little checklist on the front to check off each set of facts as the student learns them. My students are keeping theirs in their math folder to work on whenever they have time. They bring it to math group if they want me to check a page off.
There is so much more in the unit that I haven't even gotten to yet... task cards, Spin and Solve games (which I'm using in centers next week), posters, more graphic organizers, and word problem strips. I loooove the strips because they are exactly what I use for homework. Every day my students glue a new problem into their homework journals. The strips in Arisbeth's pack will work perfectly!
If you want to check out the rest of this awesome unit, visit her store by clicking on the cover picture below...
Another resource that you absolutely must see is the Engage NY website. You can download complete lessons for the entire year of math. It's incredible! Luckily, the scope and sequence closely matches what we do here in Florida. When I was out sick one day this week, I was able to print out a detailed lesson plan for my sub that she could follow word-for-word. This site has every grade level, pre-k through 12, for both math and language arts. Wow! Florida has nothing like this for their teachers.